The Content Syndication Guide 2020
- By Oskar Gräsman
- July 17, 2020
Content Syndication is a very powerful and popular marketing strategy. If used in the right it can also have a great impact on your SEO. But if it’s not done right, it might backfire completely in terms of SEO, so please read this guide to get the most out of your content syndication strategy.
Don’t worry if you have never heard the term content syndication before, the concept is very simple. Content syndication is about republishing, or reusing, your content pieces at other websites. It has similarities to guest posting, but is not the same!
The purpose of content syndication
You are probably already familiar with the concept of guest posting. Guest posting is when you write a piece of content to be published on someone else’s blog or website.
Within the SEO community a guest post usually means you will get a backlink in exchange of writing for someone else’s blog or website. If the website or blog is very strong you might even have to pay to get published. Nonetheless, guest posting takes a lot of time and is hard to scale. Especially if you are doing all the writing yourself.
That’s why content syndication is so popular among marketers, because you can reuse your content over and over again. Content that has already been published. But what about duplicate content, you might think?
There are some common misconceptions about duplicate content. In fact, the myths and misconceptions about duplicate content and SEO might be the most long lived one I’ve seen.
A lot of people think that duplicate content will get your website penalized or even deindexed from Google. This is far from true. News sites are a very good example of this, and they are often huge content syndicators.
Let’s do a little test and you will see it with your own eyes. Pick a news article and copy a sentence or two and run it through Google with the exact match operator, or run the whole article through a plagiarism tool. It’s very likely that you will find multiple copies of the article online. Sometimes it’s even enough to put the headline of the article into Google, like in the example below with FastCompany.com and Undark.org.
Does this mean you can stop writing content and just copy paste from other websites? Well, no. You do need permission from the copyright holder to publish content that is not created by you.
How to get started with content syndication
Before you start your content syndication strategy you should have a clear picture of what you want to get out of it. Do you want to build a list of email subscribers, get more readers to your blog, increase the reach of your content or improve your site’s SEO?
The focus of this article will be on the SEO aspect of content syndication, but we will touch some other aspects as well. After all, all of the above aspects can have a direct or indirect impact on your SEO. Because let’s face it, if you are a good content creator people are going to link back to your content every so often. The more readers your reach, the more links. At least in theory.
When you have a clear goal in mind you should start looking for potential publishers. Bear in mind that a lot of the bigger publishers get a lot of requests. The bigger they are, the more requests they will receive. Your content really has to stand out, a poorly rewrite of someone else’s content probably won’t do it.
You should also look for publishers that fit your niche. It’s probably very unlikely that a food blog will republish an article about SEO, as an example.
When you have your list it’s time to start pitching. Try your best to sell yourself and convince the publisher why they should choose to work with you, of all people reaching out to them. You should show examples of your previously written content and obviously focus on your best pieces. If you can show them your articles on popular sites in their niche it’s even better.
Although, this is sometimes a catch 22. Because of this, the best way is usually to work your way up the ladder.
Content Syndication Best Practices for SEO
You might think that you are all set when you finally get that reply you have hoped for, but don’t count your chickens before they hatch!
Now you need to figure out how to get the most of your content, because you want this to be a win win situation! There’s one absolute best practise, and that’s if the site you are republishing your content at can set your content as the original with help of the rel=’canonical’ tag. Preferably together with a dofollow link back to your original piece of content.
If these conditions are met, this is a no brainer. But don’t be surprised if they are not, some publisher might not know about or have support for a rel=’canonical’ tag. You can do your best to convince them or even help them. But don’t worry if it’s not possible. A dofollow link is definitely enough if you ask me.
In the case where neither is possible, a nofollow link might be worth it – after all you are reusing content which requires very little effort from your side. But it does come with some risk.
Back to misconceptions of duplicate content. In Google’s Guidelines for webmasters they do talk about duplicate content and syndication. Google states that “Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.”, which necessarily doesn’t mean that the original article will show before the republished article.
If your website is strong in terms of SEO, or more or less in the same league as the website you publish your content on you will probably be fine. Google would have found and seen your content first, and understands that your website is the original source for this content.
But if the website you are republishing your content on is a lot more stronger, in terms of SEO, than your website they might actually out rank you with your own content. This could also happen if you decide to republish your content straight after it was published on your site and Google finds the republished version first. We recommend not leaving this to chance.
Syndication vs. Aggregation vs. Curation
As we already established guest posting and syndication has similarities as a marketing strategy, but also several differences. But what is content aggregation and content curation?
Syndication, aggregation and curation also have several similarities but are rather different levels on the same scale. Whilst content syndication usually starts with dialogue between two parties, aggregation and curation most often doesn’t.
A lot of content aggregators are fully automated. Basically they aggregate content from several different sources by scraping your site, and other sites, or just making use of the RSS-feed. And they usually do it without asking. Within news this is fairly common, but also among some SEO’s that want to get traffic without actually producing any content of their own.
Is it legal? It depends, but most aggregators only publish a small part of your content and claim it’s fair use under the copyright law.
What about SEO? Most likely it makes none to very little difference. If you are very lucky the content aggregator might link back to you, but it’s less unlikely you will get a dofollow link.
Google is not a huge fan of content aggregator websites, so you don’t really need to worry about these kinds of sites doing any harm to your SEO. In fact, your content has most likely been aggregated in some way already.
Content curation is a very different story. First and foremost it’s normally made by a human being for a human being, rather than a search engine. Content curation comes in several different shapes and forms. It could be anything from a list of useful links to a top five something article, like the ones you would see on a viral website.
To have your website, or an article of yours, mentioned on a website like this usually means you did something right. And when it comes to SEO, it’s probably good for you.
Make sure your content syndication strategy doesn’t backfire!
Hopefully, your content syndication strategy will go exactly as planned, especially if you followed our advice in this article. But there’s always going to be unpredictable events, such as a canonical link that disappears or some other technical errors. And you better be safe than sorry, right?
With the help of Wincher it is super easy to monitor your content syndication projects with the competitor monitoring feature. This feature is not designed specifically for content syndication monitoring, but I do find it very helpful for cases like this. Let’s have a look.
As useful Wincher’s competitor feature is for monitoring your competition, it’s as useful to use for monitoring similar projects of your or in this case, partners. Just go to the ‘Competitors’ tab, add the site where you have posted your article as a competitor. You should just add the root domain of the site, not the actual URL to the article. Wincher will eventually pick up the actual URL if the competitor starts to rank for the keywords of your article.
Then add a couple of relevant keywords to keep track of your article. This keyword doesn’t need to have any search volume, the only purpose of this is to monitor the rankings of a specific article. If I was going to monitor this article, I would have gone for the exact match of the article’s name, “Content Syndication Explained! How to succeed in 2020”. To make it a little more interesting, you could add a few different related search phrases. For the ease of use, group them together with the Keyword group feature.
Now Wincher will monitor both your site and the partner site, or “competitor”, for these keywords. You can easily access your monitoring by going to the Competitors tab and chose the keyword group you created.
As long as you are ranking better than the partner site, everything is probably working fine with your content syndication strategy!
Pretty easy huh?
Please let us know what content strategies you work with and prefer in the comment field below!